Thursday, April 5, 2012

Some of the Tools I use Restoring and Recycling Bicycles

Hello and Welcome,
A while ago Ryan suggested I do a post about the tools I use in my shop. Great idea! I love my tools almost as much as I love my bikes. I think a good place to start would be with my main tool box.

Above: If you squeeze the grips or if it cuts, I keep it in this drawer. (A&B) Large and Small Robo Grip channel locks (C) Needle Nose Pliers (D) Pliers (E) Pliers folding Multi tool (F) Bull Nose Nipper Cutter (G) Park Tool Professional Cable and Housing Cutters (H) Stanley Quick Slide III sports knife (I )Diagonal plier cutters (J) Vintage Imperial folding Knife (K) Swiss Army Knife (L) Large Scissors (M) Small Scissors

Above: (A) SAE Gear Wrenches (B) Metric Gear wrenches (C) Small Allen Wrenches (D) Metric Allen Wrench Set (E) SAE Allen Wrench Set (F) Small SAE and Metric Wrenches (G) Various Small Wrenches (H) Extra Metric Wrenches Popular Sizes. I would highly recommend the Gear wrenches. They are a real time saver. And quite often they will fit where a ratchet/socket will not.

Above:(A) Slotted Head Screwdriver set (B) Phillips Head Screwdriver set (C) A new addition to my tool box! T Handle Hex Wrenches (D) Pocket Screw Driver (E) Phillips Head attachment for 18 Volt Electric Drill/Driver

Above: (A) Mini Frame Pump (B) Teflon Tape (C) Tubing Cutter (small) (D)Under Seat Bag tube repair Kit (E) Bicycle Tire levers (F) Free Wheel removal tools (G)1,2&3 Bicycle Crank puller tool (H) 3/8 & 1/4 Mini Ratchet (I) 3/8 ratchet extension (J) 14mm socket (remove crank retainer-nut or bolt) (K) Schrader Valve Tool (L) Bicycle Chain Tool (M) Spoke wrenches (N) Cone Wrenches (O)Sealed Bottom Bracket Cartridge removal tool (Shimano) (P) Allen Key sockets (Q) Chain Whip (R) Bicycle Air Pressure Gage (S) Spanner (T) Lock Ring Wrench (U) Metric Rule (V) Caliper Type Measuring Tool (metric) (W) Mini prying tool (for rim strip removal)
Above: (A B C) 3/8, 1/4 & 1/2 Inch Sockets (D) Allen Key Sockets (E) 1/2 Inch Drive Ratchet (F) 1/4 Inch Drive Ratchet (G) 1/4 - 3/8 Mini Ratchet (H) 14mm Socket (crank nut or bolt) (I) 3/8 Swivel Attachment (J) 1/4 Inch Extension (K) 3/8 Inch Extension (I have several more sockets put away)Most of my Craftsman sockets and ratchets etc. came in a set like the Craftsman 154 pc. Mechanics Tool Set
Above: (A) Wheel Truing Stand (B) Craftsman Bench Grinder. I use both of these a lot. A Truing Stand is an absolute must for getting wheels as true as possible.
Above: Shop Vise (To the right) A File. I have other files as well. A vise is another absolute must for any shop. And a set of files as well.
Above: 18 Volt Rechargeable Drill / Driver (Also) Fine Brass Wheel-Brush Attachment. This is one of the most important tools I own. Especially with the "fine" brass wheel-brush. I have saved countless parts and components with this tool. If your going into restoring old bikes, this should be the first tool you buy.
Above: Small Campbell Hausfeld shop Air compressor. Not a necessity, just faster. I could probably live without this, but I don't want too!
Above: Small Makita Angle Grinder. I don`t use it a lot. But when I do it`s a real work saver.
Above: (A) Adjustable Wrench Often Called a Crescent Wench (Crescent is actually a brand name) (B) Large Crescent Wrench (C) Ball Pein Hammer (There are three was to spell it, So hold the comments please) (D) Vise Grips locking pliers (also a brand name)
(E) Stupid "As seen on TV" Gadget wrench (I also have one of those stupid battery powered crescent Make me an offer!
Above: "Dremel Type" Rotary Tool And Accessory Kit. Another tool I don`t use often. But it really saved my A$$ on the single to three piece crank conversion.
It paid for itself that day.
Above: High Speed Dewalt 8 amp Electric Drill. I use this for more demanding drilling. Like drilling through steel. Sometimes you just need more speed and power. This was a gift from my wife. I asked for a cheaper one. But she found this one on sale. She must actually listen to me sometimes when I talk about quality tools. And the Dewalt is just that, a quality tool.
Above: Heat Gun used for removing decals and stickers. Can also be used to remove some types of paint. No more borrowing the wife's hair dryer gun. This was very affordable, less than 15.00 if I remember right.
Above: My collection of touch-up paint. I often use nail polish because it comes in almost every shade of almost every color. The worst part is actually purchasing it. My wife has a better eye for matching color than I do. So I often have her go purchase it for me.
Above: (A) 3M Trim and Detail Tape (look for this tape in the paint section) (B) White Lightning Brush and Scraper (for cleaning free-wheel units) (C) J.B. WELD Stick (8th wonder of the world) (D) Medical Gloves (for working with chemicals) (E) Safety Glasses (eye protection) (F) White Lightning Chain Cleaner (G) White Lightning Clean Streak (parts cleaner)
Above: Storage Bins and Tubs for Organizing Spare and Salvaged Parts. I am finally getting the shop organized this year. And I have been getting rid of the last of my masonry stuff.
Above: A repair stand is an absolute must. As I work on steel bikes I have no problem mounting a bike on the stand in this manner. I do occasionally clamp onto the seat tube. This Feedback Bicycle Work Stand is my favorite. Some of you Rockers may recognize the name. Feedback manufactured stands for the music industry "hence the name". This one breaks down easily, which makes it nice for travel or just moving inside during the winter. If you are going to rebuild or restore bikes, you are really going have to get or make a repair stand for yourself.
Above: My parts cleaning pot. Total investment including brush about 20.00 . I have found that spraying, then brushing the parts and respraying really speeds up the process. And conserves the expensive parts cleaner as well. My parts cleaner of choice White Lightning "Clean Streak". You should wear gloves and safety glasses when working with any chemical parts cleaner. And a heavy duty shop apron is always a good idea as well. Some kind of parts de greasing system is also an absolute must. And I use this almost everyday when I am busy.
Above: Another option for parts cleaning is a can of carburetor cleaner with a basket.(see arrow) This is very strong stuff and should be used carefully following all directions and cautions carefully. And you probably don`t want to put any plastic parts in there. But check the directions carefully. But for really old and dirty bearing cartridges and races and cups this stuff works great. I don`t recommend this to anyone who is inexperienced. This carburetor cleaner "in my opinion" can be dangerous stuff. READ ALL CAUTIONS
Above: This Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish is so important to what I do that I consider it one of my most important tools. I don`t let myself run out of this stuff ever! I have never heard from anyone who did not think this stuff was fantastic. I first heard about and started using Mothers back in my motorcycle days. For me, An absolute must have.
Above: By far the most important tool I have found yet, my P.C. I would be lost without it. What an amazing tool! Every time I would run across a problem the answer was always a few clicks away. The amount of information we have at our fingertips is mind-blowing.
Above: Coming Soon! Bottom bracket conversion, Unbelievably Simple! Until next time, Please RIDE SAFE and remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!

P.S. I have since thought of other tools I should have included. But that could go on forever. So this post will have to do for now.


  1. Camera. (forgotten tool and my next high end tool purchase)

    As a fellow Tradesman who finds himself no longer as busy or in demand as once before, I am curious about which of your masonry tools you will keep as a symbol of the years of training and sweat and fellowship and the irreplaceable reward of standing back and saying, "I built that."

    Trowel? Level?

    As a Carpenter, the obvious choice for me would be the Hammer. But I'm lousy at driving nails. We quit doing it that way years ago. But a nail gun and compressor make sad symbols. As a secret sign of your own guild I have always used the level and square on my company tee shirts and stationary. I also have tried to live my life according to those precepts. Not always easy.

    Looking at your tools was a fun trip. I have many of the same but not that Park cable/housing cutter which I covet. I didn't see that "third hand tool" for brake adjustment and I am too lazy to go back and double check. What's your technique?

    My family name apparently originates with some obscure Abbey in Ye Olde but all I know is I was raised German and I act Irish.

    This Blog and what you are doing with bicycles is some good art. I am glad our mutual friend Ryan led me here. Thanks Hugh, and Thanks Roadie!


    1. Hey TJ
      I have a chisel that I purchased when I was an apprentice. It is the only tool left from my original set. So I will keep that for sure. I`ll have to go through my tool-bag and see what I might want to save. I have my grandfathers mason tools stashed around here somewhere. I used his trowel a few times. I thought it was cool that his trowel was the exact same size and shape (London heel) as the one I was using at the time.
      My technique for keeping cables tight is simple. I close the caliper then pull the cable snug. Then I clamp onto the cable with needle nose pliers right below the anchor point. If the cable slips I just roll the pliers a little. And tighten with the 10mm in my other hand. If that does not work, I usually just "swear a lot" and try again. LTMS
      You and Steve must be psychic! You both mentioned things that are on my wish list. One an Ultra Sonic Parts Cleaner. And the other a better Camera with more optic zoom. I have 12x I want about 30x
      Well the Germans and the Irish both love Beer. So maybe your both! I think they both drink it warm in their home country (s) though.
      Thanks for the comments about my work, I really do appreciate it. Although sometimes I don`t know how to respond to it. But I am working on it. Cheers

  2. IMO, the "Mother's" should rate higher on your list, though I do not think you actually ranked the items based on daily value.

    I would like to see how you rate an ultrasonic cleaner when that item drops into your tool inventory. I see them as less aggressive than abrasive cleaning methods, but have limited experience so far. They are getting quite affordable at places like Harbor Freight during sales.

    1. Hey Steve,
      Your correct, If I had listed the tools in order of their importance to me. The Mothers and the brass wheel brush and the work stand would have probably have been the the top three.
      Good call on the Ultra Sonic cleaner as well. I really do hope to own one someday. Thanks for the insightful comments.

  3. Wow. What an amazing collection of tools. I especially like how organized the wrench and screwdrivers were displayed in the drawer. Was that just for the photo?

    1. Hey Annie,
      First off, Thank you, it has taken me years to accumulate all those tools. And as far as "Bicycle specific Tools" go, I still have a long way to go.
      The tools start out the day organized. And if all goes according to plan, they end the day the same way. But sometimes I work until I am exhausted. On those nights I sometimes shut off the lights and go to bed. But it really is important to keep them organized. If your 10mm wrench was in a different place every day you would loose lots of time searching for it. Multiply that by 100 or so wrenches and tools....... Well you get my point. The tools on the table were laid out for the photo. So that makes my answer No - Yes. LTMS
      Thanks for the comment.

  4. ....and thanks for the heads up on the repair stand.I've been sitting on the fence for a while now and you've pushed me a step further in the right direction.



    PS Have you read 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance'?He has a lot to say about mechanics and workshops!

    1. Hey Ian,
      When you do purchase or build your work stand. I bet you will ask yourself
      Why did I not do this sooner?
      And you are the second person who has recommended that book for me. I guess that is a sign that I really should read it. I`ll add it to my wish list today. Thanks

  5. Hugh, great post thanks for doing this. After your many posts of effusive praise I have finally purchased my first tub of Mothers for the aluminum on the Peugeot course I just picked up, looking forward to the seeing the results. I am coveting your heat gun and Dremel set. I think my favorite tool these days is a Y- Socket( great for brake pad/cable adjustment for center pulls. For brake cable adjustments I find using a quick clamp to hold the pads to the rim and then adjusting the cable appropriately really helps.


  6. Hey Ryan,
    Your Welcome, and Thank You for the idea. I was eyeballing a wrench very much like that the other day. I bought the mini crank tool instead.That was a poor choice.
    Good to hear you picked-up some Mothers, I don`t think you will be disappointed. Most of the time the brake cable to caliper hook-up does not give me much trouble. But every once in a while I have trouble and think, "there has to be an easier way". But then my cheapness kicks in :) Is the quick clamp a slider type or a giant alligator clip? Please take a pic of how it works and post it on the FB page when you get a chance. Sounds like a really good tip.
    P.S. I just found out (2 days ago) that the grips I ordered for the red fixed gear are "out of stock". And it only took them three weeks to inform me.(after I contacted them) It took them about 10 seconds to get the money out of my account though. Big freaking surprise. did take the trouble to send an apology. So I`m not ready to put them on my "$#17 list" just yet.
    Also the funds were returned to my account as well. So for now, They are on "Double Secret Probation!" (name the movie?) LTMS

  7. Hi Hugh,
    I use the clamps like Ryan talks about for adjusting my brakes to squeeze the pads to the rim. They are the spring clamps that finish carpenters use. They are nice because they have the contact points vinyl covered (so as to not mar the surfaces!)If you go into your local lumberyard or hardware store they have them for about eight bucks ea for the bigger ones. I found my set at a garage sale for a buck a piece.
    Great post about tools!!
    I like your tool cabinet. I wish I was that organized.
    Animal House

  8. "Over? Was it over when Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!..(Germans?)" Movies from the 70's and 80's Hugh now you are in my wheelhouse! LOL I will try and get a shot of the slider quick clamp up on FB this week.


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